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Banking Basics

Avoiding Credit Privacy Number (CPN) Scams

At N26 we strive to help you make better financial choices by giving you the necessary tools and information to better understand and manage your money. Sometimes, this means giving you information about potential threats and obstacles that you should be aware of to avoid any potential unpleasant surprises down the road.

What is a credit privacy number?

If you have bad credit, beware of the credit privacy number (CPN). This is something certain companies offer to consumers, especially those who are trying to overcome the challenges of a low credit score, as a way to reset their credit. The sales pitch is that the CPN (also referred to as a consumer profile number, credit profile number, or credit protection number) can be used instead of your social security number when applying for credit. It’s a shortcut to credit repair that you do not want to take.

How are CPNs scams?

Companies that offer CPNs are preying on consumers with low credit scores, but the numbers they provide are often dormant Social Security numbers that belong to other individuals, such as children or the deceased. If you purchase a CPN and use it — for example, when you apply for a credit card — you may become involved in identity theft.

Thanks to the 1974 U.S. Privacy Act, people may withhold their Social Security numbers when not required by federal law, and federal law makes social security numbers optional for credit applications. The scam exploits that legal gray area, b cause they are not legitimate nor does the U.S. government recognize the validity of those numbers.

Since credit bureaus identify people primarily through Social Security numbers, and associate them with addresses and phone numbers, CPN sellers will advise their customers to change those items as well so the credit bureaus can’t match them. Doing so, however, will cause the consumer to dig themselves even deeper into the hole of identity theft, and potentially find themselves in serious trouble at the end of it.

How do I avoid CPN scams?

These companies are trying to convince you that creditors will reconsider your creditworthiness simply because of a new identifier, address, and phone number. Any promises like those should raise flags. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has said that companies selling new credit identities are scams.

Don’t fall prey to quick fixes, and follow these guidelines:

  • Ignore any companies touting CPNs or other too-good-to-be-true credit replacement solutions.
  • Unless you actually have your own business, do not apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Don’t believe any company that tries to tell you an EIN is a substitute for a Social Security number.
  • Remember that credit repair agencies cannot charge you before they perform any services, as required by the Credit Repair Organizations Act.

Are there other options to help me repair my credit?

Repairing your credit is possible, but it does require work, and often takes time. Remember that most negative information on your credit report will eventually drop off. And you can proactively rebuild your credit by paying credit card bills and loans on time (and every time), keeping a low credit utilization ratio, and limiting how much new credit you take on.

Check out our blog post for more information about building a good credit score fast.


Ready for mobile banking that has your back? At N26 we take security seriously, with features like secure log-in, instant account alerts, and tools that allow you to have full control of your card. Easily open an N26 account right from your phone in 5 minutes, and enjoy secure mobile banking that fits your lifestyle.

The N26 account is offered by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC. N26 Inc. is a service provider of Axos Bank. All deposit accounts of the same ownership and/or vesting held at Axos Bank are combined and insured under the same FDIC Certificate 35546. All deposit accounts through Axos Bank brands are not separately insured by the FDIC from other deposit accounts held with the same ownership and/or vesting at Axos Bank. The N26 Visa® Debit Card is issued by Axos Bank pursuant to a license by Visa U.S.A. Inc. The N26 Visa Debit Card may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

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